Jamie Carragher has provoked the ire of the keyboard warriors today by writing in his Daily Mail column that he rates Frank Lampard ahead of Paul Scholes but behind Steven Gerrard in his list of English Premier League midfielders.
Now, a debate such as this inevitably goes down tired tribal lines but let's take a look at Carragher's reasoning.
I know Barcelona’s Xavi described Scholes as the best midfielder of the last 20 years but Frank has influenced more big games — his goals clinched Chelsea’s first title in 2005, he has won them an FA Cup final and scored in a Champions League final.
He has also played more and scored more for England, and his tally of 166 Premier League goals — the highest by a midfielder — outstrips the 107 Scholes scored.
It's a safe bet that Paul Scholes' goals - back when he was a goalscorer played some part in the eleven Premier League titles he won during his career. Lampard did indeed score in a Champions League final - a final Chelsea lost to Scholes' Man United and Scholes also scored in an FA Cup final, another stat that Carragher uses as a measurement.
Another thing worth mentioning is that Carragher uses Lampard's astonishing tally of 166 Premier League goals as another barometer, that is perfectly reasonable, but Lampard's 166 goals not only outstrips Scholes' 107 but utterly eclipses Steven Gerrard's 98. We are not given any reasons as to why Gerrard is Carrgher's no:1, we are just meant to take his word for it.
This isn't meant to take a position on which of these three deserve to be top of the pile, it's a argument that has all the fun sucked out of it by maniacs but in week where England labored in the Ukraine and nearly a decade has passed in which they've been built on a Gerrard/Lampard axis, it's disconcerting that a pundit of this influence appears to have no idea of the nuances that different players bring to a team and how these players "influence big games"
The overbearing influence that the English game has over here insures we follow them blindly and the prevalent thought that a "box to box" midfielder who gets goals will always be rated ahead of a schemer will only harden.
And nothing will change.